NEW DELHI: Eying eight Rajya Sabha seats from Uttar Pradesh in the biennial elections in April, the BJP appears gearing up to deny re-nomination to controversial MP Vinay Katiyar. The party is looking to rope in new faces for nominations for the Upper House from the state to build a leadership base.
“The BJP has enough numbers to bag seven of the nine Rajya Sabha seats from UP, while the party will be in a position to win another nomination on the basis of additional numbers, besides the support of other MLAs. Katiyar has been told that he will not be getting re-nomination for the Upper House,” said a senior BJP functionary., adding that Katiyar is no more in the scheme of things of the BJP chief for UP.
The controversial statements of Katiyar—the founder-president of Bajrang Dal, the youth wing of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad—are seen as his attempts to embarrass the BJP after having sensed that the party won’t be renominating him to the Upper House, sources in the saffron outfit said. On Monday, Katiyar said “Muslims should not even be living in this country, they should go to Pakistan or Bangladesh”.
While the Samajwadi Party will be comfortably bagging one Rajya Sabha nomination, which sources in the party said will go to the outgoing MP and national general secretary Kiranmoy Nanda, the fate of Naresh Aggarwal seems uncertain. “The SP doesn’t have enough numbers to re-nominate Aggarwal. He has been reaching out to the BJP chief Amit Shah. But Shah is not inclined to take him in the party fold,” said a senior BJP functionary.
Within the BJP, a few of the national general secretaries have been hoping to bag Rajya Sabha nominations since the party came to power in Uttar Pradesh with a two-third majority. “BJP national general secretaries Ram Madhav, Arun Singh and Anil Jain are hopeful of entering the Rajya Sabha. However, it’s to be seen if Shah blesses them with Rajya Sabha nominations,” said a senior BJP functionary.
Shah, BJP vice presidents Prabhat Jha and Vinay Sahashrabuddhe, and national general secretary Bhupinder Yadav are Rajya Sabha members.